The Conquerors HILLARY & TENZING

By conquering Everest, the beekeeper and the Sherpa affirmed the power of humble determination--and won one for underdogs everywhere

On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal became the first human beings to conquer Mount Everest--Chomolungma, to its people--at 29,028 ft. the highest place on earth. By any rational standards, this was no big deal. Aircraft had long before flown over the summit, and within a few decades literally hundreds of other people from many nations would climb Everest too. And what is particularly remarkable, anyway, about getting to the top of a mountain?

Geography was not furthered by the achievement, scientific progress was scarcely hastened, and nothing new was discovered. Yet the names...

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